Punjabi University’s professor remembers Kuldip’s association with varsity

Nayar was the founder member of the department of journalism and mass communication at Punjabi University. The department was set up in 1974.

punjab Updated: Aug 24, 2018 15:47 IST
Vishal Rambani
Vishal Rambani
Hindustan Times, Patiala
Punjabi University,Kuldip,professor
VC Jaspal Singh honouring veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar during the national conference at the Punjabi University in Patiala. (HT Photo)

Veteran journalist, editor, author, parliamentarian, diplomat and votary of Indo-Pak peace, Kuldip Nayar, who passed away on Thursday, had a long association with Punjab and particularly Punjabi University.

The 95-year-old prolific journalist did his diploma in journalism from a college under Panjab University in Lahore, however, with the conviction for writing he became a doyen in the field of journalism.

Nayar was the founder member of the department of journalism and mass communication at Punjabi University. The department was set up in 1974.

He remained associated with the department for almost two years. Later, he held regular interaction with the students at the varsity and also addressed several seminar there.

It was learnt that during a seminar in Punjabi University, Nayar spoke about his failure to clear diploma in journalism and his failed attempts to crack civil services. However, he brimmed with pride while speaking about his association and with journalism and achievements in the field.

Recollecting the memories and the time shared with Nayar, Navjit Johal, professor at journalism department in Punjabi University, said Nayar remains a role model and the pioneer in the field of journalism. He fought for the freedom of press and human rights till his last breath.

“During 2009, Nayar spoke in-length about media, losing its credibility and people losing their faith in the same. He
had also demanded for setting up a press commission,” Johal said.

Nayar had left the department after he was imprisoned during theEmergency.

Pioneer for peace efforts between India and Pak

Every year since 2000, Nayar anchored the candle light march on the Independence days of Pakistan and India (14/15 August) at the Attari-Wagah border in Amritsar.

He had been advocating the freedom of Indian prisoners in Pakistan who have completed their sentences and vice versa.

In controversy over Bhindranwale

In October 2017, Nayar had hit controversy for writing against slain Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

Later, bowing down to the pressure of the Damdami Taksal, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had decided to take back the Shiromani Patarkar Award from the veteran journalist for comparing slain militant preacher Bhindranwale with Sirsa dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim. The dera chief is undergoing a 20-year sentence in a rape case.

SGPC had given the award to Nayar on July 3, 2006, at an event marking the 400th anniversary of Akal Takht at Golden Temple in Amritsar. On the decision of taking back the award conferred on him, Nayar had said, “I have no comments. They (SGPC) can act as per their wisdom.”

However, senior editor and former MP Barjinder Singh Hamdard had strongly condemned the SGPC’s move to withdraw the honour bestowed upon the veteran journalist. “Kuldip will always be known for his good work and great writing. It’s not him, but the SGPC that has damaged its image and stature,” said Hamdard who penned down Nayar’s contribution in field of journalism and his efforts in voicing the issues of Sikhs and Punjabis.

Meanwhile, the Punjabi University’s journalism department organised a condolence meet led by professor Happy Jeji here on Thursday and remembered Nayar’s contribution to the department.

First Published: Aug 24, 2018 15:47 IST